Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Disentangling Modernity in Ghana: The Cosmopolitan Chief

Beverly Stoeltje


Elements of modernity have proven to be entangled in Ghanaian social and political life to the extent that it is considered a functioning democracy today. Yet the institution of chieftaincy, rooted in precolonial culture, also serves as a source of leadership in contemporary Ghana. This situation is best understood with the concept of pluralism. A close investigation of the forces that converged at Ghanaian independence and of the career of Otuo Siriboe II, a contemporary paramount chief, reveals the strength of institutional pluralism in Ghana and a configuration of leadership based on plural identities, a contrast to the model of leadership represented by the philosopher-kings who shaped Africa at independence with concepts of modernity.


Ghana; Juaben; Pluralism; Leadership; Modernity; Chieftaincy

Full Text:


West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

Published by Africa Resource Center, Inc. All inquiries about rights, permissions, reprints and license should be directed to AfricaResource.

Copyright © Africa Resource Center, Inc., 1999 - .